To the editor:
Referring to a letter to the editor that appeared in your paper June 10 by Marian Young Morgan - John R. Young was my great-great-grandfather and he was a son of Lorenzo Dow Young, so my roots are also deep in Utah.Cousin Marian writes, when Uncle Brigham uttered those famous words, "This is the place," she wrote that he also said, "The soil, the air, the water are all pure and healthy, do not suffer them to become polluted with wickedness."
In my research of church history and journals, I fail to find where this statement was made. Perhaps there has been some fantasizing on what he is thought to have said or what the environmentalists hoped he said when he arrived in the valley on July 24, 1847.
In a meeting with the captains over their groups, what he did say was, "Do not build your outdoor privies over a creek or close by it, or build a stock corral over the same creek - the water must remain pure for those downstream as well as for them upstream.
Marian also writes, quoting her grandfather, "Are you not dissatisfied, and is there not bitterness in your feelings, the moment you find a canyon put in possession of an individual, and power given unto him to control the timber, wood, rock, grass and, in short, all its facilities. Does there not start something up in your breast that causes you to feel uncomfortable?"
Who was Cousin Marian referring to? Uncle Brigham and his group were the first to arrive in the Great Basin - no one had staked out squatters rights in the canyons - for no white man was living in the valley when they arrived.
On July 26, 1847, Brigham Young said, "We will till the desert till it blossoms like a rose. We will plant fields of grain, for that crop will give us substance of life and barter for our other necessities of life," and "From the canyons and the mountains they will furnish us with timber and rock to build our temples, our ward houses and homes, we will tame and use this wilderness, but discretion must be used, for it must also supply and furnish our posterity and generations to follow with that same substance."
The main point Cousin Marian missed was that had the Wilderness Act been in place Sept. 24, 1846, prior to the saints and Uncle Brigham arriving in July 1847, he would not have been allowed to enter Emigration Canyon, let alone settle the valley. There would not be a Salt Lake City, Ogden, Logan, Provo or Price - or any other small village, town or hamlet. The mountains and valleys would still remain untouched, in their virgin state.
Paul L. Young